By Emil Danielyan
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to meet at the border between their countries on August 14 for more discussions on the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the presidential office in Yerevan announced on Tuesday.
It said the agreement was reached during a phone conversation between Presidents Robert Kocharian and Heydar Aliev earlier in the day. The meeting will take place on a section of the border between the southern Armenian province of Ararat and Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. No further details were given.
It will be the first face-to-face contact between the two leaders this year. Aliev and Kocharian had previously held numerous meetings to try to agree on a solution to the Karabakh conflict. The parties seemed as close to a peace deal as ever in the spring of last year. But expectations of an agreement failed to materialize.
Many political analysts believe that, with presidential elections due in both Armenia and Azerbaijan next year, failure to reach a breakthrough this year would delay the conflict’s settlement at least until 2004.
In June, Kocharian accused Aliev of seeking to destabilize the political situation in Armenia with controversial remarks on Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks. The Armenian leader said Aliev hoped to fan opposition anger when he claimed that Yerevan was ready to surrender the strategic Meghri district to Azerbaijan as part of a Karabakh peace accord.